Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

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A Toxic Affair: How the chemical lobby blocked action on hormone disrupting chemicals

An investigation led by research and campaign group Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) and journalist Stéphane Horel exposes corporate lobby groups mobilising to stop the EU taking action on hormone (endocrine) disrupting chemicals (EDCs). The report sheds light on how corporations and their lobby groups have used numerous tactics from the corporate lobbying playbook: scaremongering, evidence-discrediting, and delaying tactics, as well as using the ongoing TTIP negotiations as a leverage. But industry's interests were also defended by actors within the Commission.

(Traducción en castellano hecho por Ecologistas en Acción: descargar PDF aqui)
 

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that are present in everyday products – from plastics and cosmetics to pesticides. Because of their ability to interact with the hormonal (endocrine) systems of living organisms, they are suspected of having severe health and environmental impacts.

EU law demands action be taken on endocrine disruptors, with clear deadlines set. According to these rules, if a chemical is identified as an endocrine disruptor, a ban follows. The current approach is that chemicals are assessed following risk assessment procedures and safe levels of exposure are set accordingly. However, for endocrine disruptors it might be impossible to set such 'safe' levels.

The Directorate-General (DG) for the Environment of the European Commission was put in charge of establishing a set of scientific criteria for 'what is an endocrine disruptor'. The chemical industry lobby was up in arms at the potential banning of some EDCs. The main lobby groups involved were the chemical and pesticide lobbies (CEFIC - European Chemical Industry Council & ECPA - European Crop Protection Association), and the corporations at the forefront were BASF and Bayer. But they found allies in various member states, actors within the European Commission, and in the European Parliament.

Read the press release here.

Download the report here.

 

Comments

Submitted by Mrs. Susan Cary... (not verified) on

Organic is the way to go. It is proven that mono crops, prairie style farming without trees to bring minerals from the deep soil, chemical fertilizer etc. is bad for all species. Humans are now deficient in many minerals even though they are well fed, they are nutrient poor.
Lobbyists should not have the ear of those who form policy that effects populations.
Farms who use chemicals should have to state what is used in the same way that organic farms have to prove their status.
Crops and animals which enter the food chain having been grown, fed or grazed on land sprayed with Glyphosate or other chemicals should be clearly labelled. GMO food should be clearly labelled as should non-GMO, that way the consumer has information and choice.

Submitted by Ahmad Mahdavi (not verified) on

Western countries as the site of production of toxic compounds have already developed ways to manage and cope with consequences somehow via regulations wide NGOs and community workers activities but the situation in most developing countries and in particular Middle Eastern countries is different and people and environment are highly exposed to these ever increasing millions of chemicals and their metabolites and possibilities of synergism. Now that EU REACH laws and regulations are leading the World for toxic pollution regulation and prevention they better to think also to give immediate hand to nearby Middle Eastern countries with no regulatory systems and absolutely no enforcement system.

Submitted by Smitha522 (not verified) on

whoah this blog is wonderful i like reading your articles. edfkcfabcdkdbeck

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This week's European Commission decision to extend Glyphosate's market authorisation points to many broader problems - here is a CEO overview of the issues at large.

The official EU assessment of glyphosate was based on unpublished studies owned by industry. Seven months later, the pesticide industry still fights disclosure and, so far, successfully. We obtained a copy of their arguments.

In recent times we have seen various examples of green activists “coming out” as GMO-proponents, arguing that GMOs are safe and have multiple benefits: reduced pesticide use, higher income for farmers, contributing to food security, reduced greenhouse gas emissions... As an essential part of their discourse, organisations that continue to reject GMO technology are depicted as old-fashioned and as acting in contradiction to their own aims.

Mark Lynas is a well known example of this in the UK, with an (in)famous public apology for his past role in the anti-GM movement that drew a lot of media attention. Lynas' move has been copied by others, like blogger Stijn Bruers in Belgium. This framing of the GMO debate has proven quite attractive to the media, even though it is not always clear why specifically these people are seen to have the credentials to merit this attention.

There are many fundamental flaws in the argumentation they are putting forward. Claire Robinson of GMWatch, at the request of Corporate Europe Observatory, has written a rebuttal of many of the claims made by these newly converted GMO proponents. For practical reasons, this rebuttal follows the argumentation and claims made in an article by Bruers on his blog about GMOs .

On 15 June 2016, the Commission will finally announce the long-awaited scientific criteria for EDCs. Time to do a recap of this last season’s main episodes.

A few weeks after the May coup against Dilma Rousseff by conservative parties backed by the country's largest corporations, Brazil's “interim” government, led by Michel Temer, signed an emergency loan to the State of Rio de Janeiro to help finance infrastructure for the 2016 Olympics. The bailout was conditional to selling off the State's public water supply and sanitation company, the Companhia Estadual de Águas e Esgotos (Cedae). 

When we interviewed City Councillor and chair of Rio’s Special Committee on the Water Crisis Renato Cinco, in December 2015, he was already warning against such privatisation threats and provided important background information on the water situation in Rio.

José Manuel Barroso's move to Goldman Sachs has catapulted the EU’s revolving door problem onto the political agenda. It is symbolic of the excessive corporate influence at the highest levels of the EU.

Corporate Europe Observatory, Friends of the Earth and LobbyControl today wrote to Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, calling on him to investigate Angelika Nieber MEP over a possible conflict of interest.

CEO presents some first reflections on the UK's vote for Brexit.

 
 
 
 
 
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The corporate lobby tour